A new study found that the addition of monounsaturated fat (MUFA) to a cholesterol-lowering dietary portfolio in patients with mild to moderate elevated cholesterol levels increased HDL by 12.5% and lowered LDL levels by 35%.
Low HDL-C levels and high LDL-C levels are a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The addition of dietary monounsaturated fat, common in the Mediterranean diet, is a current approach to raising HDL-C levels.
The study included 24 patients (17 men and seven postmenopausal women) who completed a very low saturated fat diet before being randomly assigned to either a high-MUFA diet or a low- MUFA diet.
Both groups of patients were assigned to a specific vegetarian diet which included oats, barley, psyllium, eggplant, okra, soy, almonds and a plant sterol enriched margarine.
In the high-MUFA group, the researchers substituted 13% of calories from carbohydrates with high-MUFA sunflower oil, with the option of a partial exchange with avocado oil.
They found significant reductions in blood cholesterol levels over the two-month study period for participants.
"The replacement of 13% of total calories from carbohydrate by monounsaturated fats in the dietary portfolio resulted in a 12.5% greater increase in HDL-C over the four weeks, while not altering the substantial LDL-C reduction," wrote Dr. David Jenkins, Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, with coauthors.
The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
From the November 15, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition